Major League Baseball (MLB) is making a brave move by removing marijuana from the list of banned substances for minor league players. The agreement has not been finalized, but the MLB and MLB players’ unions are discussing the terms of the new policy.
In a tweet, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal said that as part of the new agreement on opioid negotiations between MLB and the players’ union, MLB would remove marijuana from the list of banned substances for the minor leagues. Rosenthal also noted that Major leagues are not subjected to marijuana tests.
The agreement is for minor league players who are not on the 40-man roster and are eligible to be included in the active roster.
In 2019 alone, 13 players have been suspended for ‘drugs of abuse,’ which is a term used to refer to weed. Currently, penalties for positive drug tests are stringent. If the first test is positive, the player is suspended for 25 games, 50 matches if the second test is positive, 100 games for a third, and lifetime suspension if a fourth test is positive.
Since 2002, players in the major league 40-man roster have not been regularly subjected to marijuana tests. They are only tested if there is a possible cause. A positive THC test results in a $35,000 fine and a treatment plan, but the players are not suspended.
The list of abused substances on the ban list for the MLB players includes cannabinoids, THC, human-made THC, and cannabimimetic (K2 and Spice), cocaine, LSD, opiates (such as heroin, codeine, oxycodone, and morphine), MDNA, and PCP.
MLB players’ union chief, Tony Clark, is positive that the two will agree at the end of 2019. The deal being negotiated also includes testing of opioids and the establishment of a recovery plan. The CBD Sports reported that the players in the Minor League who test positive for opiates would be enrolled in a treatment program instead of being suspended.
In October, the Los Angeles Times reported that very soon, changes will take place in the MLB at the directive of the players union. The agreement being negotiated is in response to the opioid crisis and the Angeles pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who passed on earlier this year due to a drug overdose. Skaggs overdosed on Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and alcohol. The drugs were found in his system after his death.
When it comes to marijuana usage, the MLB is known to be progressive; however, other league sports are slow to adopt marijuana reforms.
Although hemp and its derivatives are legal in the U.S, the PGA issued a directive stating that its golfers are not allowed to use CBD. The NFL reduced the penalty on marijuana usage, but since then, no further step has been made on the marijuana policy.
In 2017, the World Anti-Doping Agency cleared CBD use by athletes. It remains a permitted substance to date. Experts are of the view that cannabis companies, such as ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF), long for the day when all athletes will have no fear about using cannabis for medical purposes.
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